NFL games continue to be among some of the highest-rated programs on television. In 2021, viewership jumped 10 percent from the previous year to an average of 17.1 million as the league debuted its first 18-week season after running on a 16-week schedule since 1978. Fans — and team owners — welcomed the change with open arms, but a vocal percentage of players were not as ecstatic (despite the union signing off). Those who were against adding games cited health and safety concerns as their main reason. While the extended season means fatter pockets for the league, the opposition asks: is it worth the risk? Cheddar's JD Durkin breaks it all down.